Saturday, January 27, 2018

Six Senses Fiji opening from April 2018

©Six Senses Fiji
Located in a secluded bay on Malolo Island, Six Senses Fiji features a spectacular private golden sandy beach, 650 metres (2100 feet) long and offers all-tide swimming. A range of water sports from snorkelling to surfing on the nearby reef breaks, as well as a kid’s club called Grow With Six Senses, tennis courts and a weekly activity guide full of cultural and wellness experiences will be available. The Wellness Village at Six Senses Fiji will include a Six Senses Spa, a state-of-the-art gym, an extensive wet area with hot and cold whirlpools, an alchemy bar and an elevated treetop yoga pavilion.

Six Senses Fiji will feature 24 one-and two-bedroom pool villas all with private pools, decks and outdoor showers.  Also ten private residences of two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom configurations (with another 50 scheduled to be built during phase two of the development). All residences and villas come with a guest experience maker (GEM) and private residence guests have the option of a complimentary nanny.

Sustainability is key throughout the resort which will be 100% solar, powered by the largest micro grid in Fiji using Tesla batteries.

To celebrate the opening, Six Senses Fiji is offering the 5th night free for guests who visit between April 14 to May 31, 2018. And, when booking eight nights, guests who want to completely unwind will receive their 9th and 10th nights free. Whether it’s a mini break or a well-deserved, extended getaway, the team at Six Senses Fiji promises to reward all guests with an extra day or two to lounge by the pool and beach or explore the beautiful surrounds of Malolo island.

Easy access is available from Nadi International Airport via a 35-minute private Six Senses speed boat from Denarau Marina and the option of a 10-minute helicopter. The resort also hosts two full-service marinas for guests’ private yachts.

Reservations can be made through your travel agent, direct by email at or by calling +679 6750 284.

Source: Press release.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Irish favourite black pudding on-trend in Australia

Black pudding enthusiasts sigh at the thought of these dark rounds of deliciousness, traditionally enjoyed for breakfast. The idea transports me straight back to Cork in Southwest Ireland and a truly memorable Irish breakfast devoured some years ago in the early hours – bacon, egg, potato pancake (boxty) and black pudding. The company at the time and the excitement at the forthcoming holiday in this wonderful part of Ireland added to the moment.

Both black and white pudding continue to feature in those hearty Irish breakfasts, but black pudding has gone up-market, becoming an on-trend ingredient with chefs lately, crumbled on and into a range of dishes – it goes well with mussels, for example. (I've tried it and it does.) 

So what is it? Today black pudding is made with beef, oatmeal, beef blood and spices. Clonakilty Whitepudding doesn't contain blood and is made with pork, oats, onion and spice. Both are great on the BBQ or you can try black pudding as a pizza topping. 

 “Clonakilty’s Blackpudding has a rich, deep flavour that goes hand-in-hand with its heritage. Using a secret blend of spices and steel-cut oats to give the produce its unique taste, crumby texture and distinctive flavour, the black pudding pairs beautifully with an array of fish, meat and vegetable based dishes”, says Colette Twomey, owner and MD of Clonakilty Food Co. and guardian of the secret spice recipe.

Find Clonakilty Blackpudding in Woolworths, IGA’s, grocers, deli’s and a selection of independent butchers nationwide. For industry, orders in NSW can be made online via Two Providores. For a detailed list of stockists go to:  - RRP $8 Clonakilty Blackpudding 200g.

Images courtesy of Clonakilty Co.

Birthday celebrations in Koh Samui, Thailand

©InterContinental Samui Baan Talin Ngam, Koh Samui, Thailand
Big (any?) birthday coming up? Koh Samui, Thailand, makes a perfect island destination with laid-back luxury a given at the 5-star InterContinental Samui Baan Talin on the west coast, just an hour's flight from Bangkok (and a 45 minute drive from the airport).

Surrounded by more than 50 islands, this property is a self-contained, easy going paradise for families, couples and honeymooners as well as weddings, birthday celebrations and corporate functions. The property features breathtaking views across the Gulf of Thailand and Ang Thong Marine National Park, water fun with seven swimming pools and a wide range of aquatic activities. Then there's the delicious Thai food ...

 Club Beachfront Pool Villas have a private pool and Club Two bedroom Residence Villas feature spacious living on two separate floors for familes.

Three Night Luxurious Beach Escapade Birthday Packages

Book a Samui Birthday Package from now until 30 April for stays until 22 December 2018 and indulge in curated birthday inclusions. 
Stay for two nights and the third is complimentary – Club Beachfront Pool Villa or Club Two Bedroom Residence Villa.  An additional night price will be provided for those wanting to stay more than three nights*
Daily breakfast at Amber, the award-winning restaurant by Tatler
Return airport transfers *
Welcome birthday drink/flowers in room *
Complimentary birthday cake served with coffee*
One 60-minute therapeutic body massage for two adults at the award- winning Baan Thai Spa by Harnn*
One Junior Master Chef Cooking Class for 2 children or for 2 adults* 
Drink and Dining credit of THB 3,500 (AUD$144) per stay*
Complimentary two-hour babysitting between 9am and 11am for 2 children* 
Complimentary WiFi access throughout the Resort
Complimentary access to Planet Trekkers Kids Club (for 2 kids)*
*Terms and conditions apply
Couples offer: Club Beachfront Pool Villa: from THB 61,000 (AUD$2465) nett for two adults for three nights.  
Family Offer: Club Two Bedroom Residence Villa: from THB 71,000 (AUD $2868.24) nett for two adults and two children for three nights.

Full details and bookings:

Source: Press release: 
Savage Communications on behalf of InterContinental Resort Koh Samui

Saturday, July 15, 2017

NSW loop drive Sydney - Wagga, Wagga - Snowy Mountains - South Coast

Sunrise in the Snowy Mountains. Photo by Alison Plummer©
Leaving Sydney late on Saturday afternoon, we reach Goulburn around 7pm. The city is less than an hour from Canberra, Australia's capital in the ACT, so is a popular stopover.  Goulburn's wide main street is a real mix of old and new – this was a great Victorian rural city, its historic buildings dating from the glory days of gold and becoming a major centre of the booming wool trade.

We're not starving but can do with something to eat; the Pizza Kitchen, Auburn Street, is still open and I am beside myself when I spy anchovies on the menu in the Capricciosa, thin base. It's delicious. (Anchovies seem to have disappeared from pizza toppings!)

Next day we drive via Canberra to Wagga Wagga. Here we stay at the very comfortable Best Western Plus Charles Sturt Suites & Apartments, a couple of blocks from the main street with the Roundabout Restaurant, one of the  best in town. Many eateries are closed on Mondays but our niece is working at the Wagga Wagga Base Hospital and knows we'll enjoy the Indian Tavern Tandoori, a palace of a place with reliably delicious food we remember from a previous visit - Fish Malabar, Saag Gosht.

On the way back to the Best Western we discover a quiet cafe tucked away at 10 Blake Street – we can see over the walling the enclosed courtyard of The Pot 'n' Kettle Coffee House and know this is where we'll be next morning.  We only make it for a great coffee and selections from the delicious breakfast menu which includes yummy turmeric and sage pumpkin fritters with avocado, haloumi and minted yoghurt and an avocado  brekkie with goats cheese, roast tomato, rocket and lemon; pancakes.

Enough of eating – now for the drive over the Snowy Mountains to the coast on a glorious day with intense blue skies and golden sunshine. We choose the quiet roads via Tumbarumba, Goat Ridge Road, Link Road, a switchback route with spectacular views. Breathtaking on our early autumn day. (*It's winter now and snow and ski season in the Snowy Mountains, so this is a trip to plan ahead for late spring/early summer.  Roads can be closed due to weather conditions, so check ahead.)

We join the Snowy Mountains Highway/B72, driving through undulating countryside that's quite mesmerising before dropping down to Bega (famous for its cheese) on the coast.

North now to lovely Bermagui and then Narooma for a video interview with a very special lady. No time to explore, unfortunately, and it's late to drive to Sydney so we overnight at Kiama and speed back to Sydney next day at the crack of dawn.

Choosing the route we did turned the trip into a delightful, impromptu taste of rural New South Wales. Work and travel – the best of both worlds.

Best Western Charles Sturt Suites & Apartments
Best Western Charles Sturt Suites & Apartments

Pot n' Kettle Coffee House

*The NSW ski season is officially from June until the first weekend of October. However there can be snowfalls from April to as late as November and even December, so always check road conditions in the Snowy Mountains.

Monday, February 27, 2017

O'Keeffe, Preston and Cossington Smith at QAG

Georgia O'Keeffe: Ram's Head, Blue Morning Glory.

O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism 
Queensland Art Gallery, 11 March - 11 June 2017 

Celebrating the iconic work of American artist Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986) and pioneering Australian artists Margaret Preston (1875–1963) and Grace Cossington Smith (1892–1984), the exhibition includes 90 paintings, 30 by each artist. The Georgia O’Keeffe paintings include Storm Cloud, Lake George 1923, The Black Iris 1926 and her Ram’s Head, Blue Morning Glory 1938 (above).

Grace Cossington Smith: Landscape At Pentecost.
Georgia O'Keeffe: Purple Hills Ghost Ranch.

Margaret Preston: Aboriginal Landscape.

Already shown in Melbourne, following the season at the Queensland Art Gallery the exhibition will tour to the Art Gallery of New South Wales from 1 July to 2 October 2017.

Source: QGOMA

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Culinary Adventures in Italy's Puglia & Basilicata with Lyndey Milan, May 2018

Lyndey Milan with Alison Pike of Southern Visions Travel
Photo: Immacolata D'Amico
Sixty million olive trees (some more than 2000 years old, protected by UNESCO and tracked by satellite in case of theft), Pugliese pastas such as the local orrechiette, famous Burrata cheese, fava beans...! The list is long. Add fresh fish, cherries, figs and almonds and you still haven't reached the heart of the passion for local food that Australian food diva Lyndey Milan will introduce you to on a personalised tour behind the scenes and into the kitchens of one of Italy's best-kept secrets.

Puglia is the heel of the boot of Southern Italy, famous for its conical, whitewashed trulli houses.  Lyndey's name is synonymous with locally-grown produce and to travel with her on this journey will be an incredible experience for the lucky few. I was fortunate to enjoy Lyndey's inspiring, authentic tastes of Puglia, served here in Australia to promote the tour and using meticulously-sourced ingredients  such as Scamorza cheese and deliciously different local wines of Puglia. Based on this, I imagine that Lyndey will be hosting more than one trip to this region!

Scamorza cheese in Prosciutto.
Photo: Immacolata D'Amico

Figs with Ricotta.
Photo: Immacolata D'Amico

Wines of Puglia.
Photo: Immacolata D'Amico
May 1-7, 2018, land content from $4999.00 a person.
For full details contact Alison Pike, Southern Visions Travel

Wine info:
Masseria Li Veli

Lyndey Milan

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Inspired: Mike Nock and Laurence Pike at SIMA

Wonderful musical journey with jazz sorcerer, pianist Mike Nock and superb drummer Laurence Pike at Sydney's SIMA Sound Lounge last night. These two speak a special language together and it was inspiring to hear/see them live again. Also great to hear the incredible Sandy Evans with Alon Ilsar and his 'airsticks'. Thanks for a few hours transported away from 'the noise of the world'. Special. 

Their recent album together is Beginning And End of Knowing.